The courses strike a balance between content, process and problem solving, providing a sound basis for further study in Science; elsewhere or for employment. All pupils follow an integrated (or balanced) Science course for their first two years i.e. equal amounts of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This is based on the Activate scheme. In Years 7 and 8, pupils have three periods of Science a week, usually taught by one teacher.
In Year 9, the pupils continue to develop their Science knowledge, building on what they learnt in years 7 and 8 starting the easier elements of the new GCSE course. They are taught by subject specialists in the three 'main' Science areas (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) for one period each per week.
At GCSE/Key Stage 4 level, most pupils follow the AQA Trilogy syllabus. It is taught in units, each of which is 'under the umbrella' of one of the three sciences. Each unit is self-contained, but clear links are drawn between the units within and between subject areas. The units are taught by subject specialists for 4½ hours per week. The Science Department undertakes to provide opportunities for students to use Information & Communication Technology in fulfilment of the ICT regulations of the National Curriculum. Some pupils will have access to the Separate Science award offered by AQA. They follow the same curriculum as most pupils but have an extra set of modules which they study in Year 11. These units are taught in an additional 2½ hours in total per week.
NB Timetable time within the whole curriculum and setting arrangements at any level are subject to staffing and other constraints and may vary from year to year.
In Year 7, pupils are taught in their mixed-ability form groups.
In Year 8 pupils are placed in broad bands each with at high, intermediate and lower levels. This grouping is determined by their performance in Year 7 end of topic tests as well as their end of year exam. Movement between sets is possible in Years 8 to 11.
In Year 9 and 10 pupils are re-set in a similar way at the start of the year and stay with their group for all three sciences.
At the ends of Years 7, 8 and 9, pupils sit an exam which mirrors the style of the Key Stage 3 tests, in addition to having end of unit tests.
Continuous assessment of practical and associated skills is an important feature of our GCSE course, in which pupils are given advance warning of the criteria they must satisfy to reach various levels. End of unit tests are used to determine the tier of exams for which they are entered at the end of Year 11. These exams are set and marked by the Examination Board.
All three Sciences are offered at A Level. Pupils are required to reach a grade 6:6 in Double award Science at GCSE to undertake one or more A-Level Science courses. Numbers fluctuate from year to year, with at least two sets in each subject.
Pupils will sit the A level exams at the end of Year 13 and, with mock exams taking place in year 12. All three A-Level Sciences follow the AQA specifications which build on the style of the AQA GCSE courses. The syllabuses are very demanding in all respects and our experience indicates that students cannot afford to relax if they wish to achieve high grades.